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Devils blank 'Canes 4-0, regain Atlantic lead

Sunday, 04.04.2010 / 12:29 AM / Roundup

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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Devils blank 'Canes 4-0, regain Atlantic lead
This time, Martin Brodeur got his shutout and the New Jersey Devils got their victory.

One night after a 1-0 lead in the final half-minute of regulation turned into a 2-1 shootout loss to Chicago, the Devils got 26 saves from Brodeur in a 4-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.

The victory matched Pittsburgh's 4-3 overtime win over Atlanta earlier in the day and put the Devils atop the Atlantic Division. Both teams have 98 points and 45 wins, but the Devils own the next tiebreaker because they swept the season series.

The win was Brodeur's NHL-record 599th and his 109th career shutout, also a record.

"It was kind of nice to go out and play well again," Brodeur said.

It was also nice to win at the RBC Center, where Brodeur has had his ups and downs – including a last-second loss during last spring's playoffs. He said he wasn't sure when he arrived how things would go for him in his latest visit to Carolina.

"You can feel it when you walk in. You know, 'Not here,"' he said. "It hasn't been very good for us here. But we jumped on them right away."

Dainius Zubrus and Patrik Elias scored first-period goals, and Zach Parise and David Clarkson scored in the third period as the Devils (45-26-7) kept pace with Pittsburgh, which won earlier Saturday.

"I think it was a good game for us," New Jersey coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We played really well (Friday) night, and that game just carried over. We played the same way we did (Friday) night. We're pleased with this."

Carolina, which had just 14 shots through two periods, was shut out at home for the second time in eight days. Atlanta defeated Carolina 4-0 at the RBC Center on March 27. The Hurricanes have lost five of their last seven home games.

"They played (Friday) night, so you're hoping they're a little off," Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. "They weren't off at all. Their top-end guys were going. They were stronger."

Blues 2, Stars 1 | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS

St. Louis kept its flickering playoff hopes alive when Carlo Colaiacovo went to the net and slid home a rebound 8:14 into the third period to snap a 1-1 tie.

Colaiacovo, not known as an offensive defenseman, decided to pinch once the puck got into the low slot.

"I just saw the opportunity with the puck up high," Colaiacovo said. "I tried to cheat down low for a rebound or even a backdoor pass. When the shot went through, I just happened to find myself still stuck there.

"Guys were crashing and banging and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I just tried to get it in there quick. Luckily for me, it went in."

T.J. Oshie added his 17th goal for the Blues, who moved within four points of Colorado and Calgary at the Western Conference's postseason cutoff. Chris Mason, who has won 11 of his last 16 starts, stopped 24 shots.

The Stars are one point away from being eliminated. They had won back-to-back games, but failed for the seventh time this season to win three games in a row. They are the only team in the NHL without a three-game winning streak.

"It's hard to fathom," center Brad Richards said.

Oshie gave the Blues a 1-0 lead 4:19 into the game when he hammered in Roman Polak's shot from the point that Lehtonen couldn't handle. Brenden Morrow tied it 1-1 with 1:49 left in the second, beating Mason after winning a battle in the slot with defenseman Mike Weaver.

"We got good goaltending," Stars coach Marc Crawford said, referring to Kari Lehtonen's 21-save performance. "You've got to look at other areas. The last couple nights, we've worn out a few (of our) people. That was evident tonight."

Coyotes 3, Oilers 2 (SO) | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS

After scoring in regulation, Matthew Lombardi sealed a victory in the eighth round of the shootout as Phoenix squeaked past Edmonton at Jobing.com Arena.

Lombardi's shootout goal -- just his second in 10 tries this season -- was the lone goal in the lengthy breakaway competition. Ilya Bryzgalov made 25 saves for his 41st victory and helped Phoenix set a new franchise record for home wins in a season with 28.

The win kept Phoenix four points ahead of Nashville — its next opponent— for the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. Phoenix went 0-for-9 with the man advantage, including a short stint of 5-on-3 in the third period.

"I've kind of had a tough time in those shootouts," Lombardi said. "I'm not the greatest in the shootout, so it was nice to get that one."

Lombardi had a goal in regulation, and Daniel Winnik scored for the first time since Jan. 14. Keith Yandle finished with two assists for the Coyotes, who snapped a two-game skid.

Dustin Penner and Ryan Jones, who shot wide with a chance to answer Lombardi’s shootout goal, scored for the Oilers. Tom Gilbert had two assists as Edmonton couldn't win one for goalie Jeff Deslauriers, who was brilliant in a 42-save effort.

The Oilers fell to 1-7-2 in the second of back-to-back contests.

"It was entertaining, to say the least," Edmonton forward Ethan Moreau said. "There was big hits, some good saves and some big goals."
 
Ducks 2, Kings 1 (SO) | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS

Saku Koivu scored the tying goal on a power play with 1:32 left in the third period and netted the only goal of the shootout, leading Anaheim past Los Angeles at the Staples Center.

Jarret Stoll was sent off for hooking Corey Perry with 2:13 left in regulation, and the Ducks capitalized with Koivu's 19th goal on a rebound during a goalmouth scramble. Anaheim is four points behind Colorado and Calgary for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with four games remaining.

"We desperately need these points," Koivu said. "We came back at the end of the game there. It's a huge point for us. It's critical. We've got to win them all and get some help from other teams, but we're going to push until the end."

Curtis McElhinney, getting his fifth straight start because of Jonas Hiller's back spasms, made 29 saves before stopping Anze Kopitar, Jack Johnson and Dustin Brown in the shootout.

Brown scored the Kings' goal during a power play in the first period and Jonathan Quick made 32 saves. He stopped Perry and Teemu Selanne in the shootout before Koivu beat him to the stick side after faking a backhander.

"There was no flow to the game," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "You get five guys back in the neutral zone like the way they were playing, it takes all the flow away."

By extending the game past regulation, Los Angeles pulled within a point of No. 6 Detroit in the West. The Kings will conclude their season series with the Ducks at the Honda Center on Tuesday.

"Obviously we wanted two there, but it's good to get that one point," Quick said. "Every point we can get now means we are inching closer to clinching that playoff spot."






Islanders 4, Senators 1 | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS

The Islanders continued their late-season improvement and ended Ottawa's six-game winning streak behind a goal and an assist by John Tavares and 28 saves by Martin Biron.

To read NHL.com's complete game story, click here.

Capitals 3, Blue Jackets 2 | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOS

Washington earned its franchise-record 51st victory thanks to a three-goal first period and 34 saves by Jose Theodore. Antoine Vermette had both goals for the Jackets.

To read NHL.com's complete game story, click here.











Quote of the Day

This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares